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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table


Dedicated In Memory of Yitzchak Dovid Ben Shmuel Yosef Lesorgen z"l


"All leaven and honey shall not be burned as a fire offering to Hashem" (Vayikra 2:11). The Sefer HaChinuch zt"l (Mitzvah 117) states that the reasons behind this mitzvah are very deep and hidden. Still, the mitzvah can be understood on a simple level. This was indeed his purpose behind writing his sefer, to explain the simple meaning of the mitzvos to young people who are just beginning their mitzvah observance. Korbonos (sacrifices) are meant to arouse the feelings of the one who is bringing the offering. Specifically, the action that he is required to perform should be and example of how he should be acting himself. Leaven is a result of leaving the dough sit too long. Therefore, this mitzvah is coming to teach us that we must be quick. Do not put off doing a mitzvah. As the Torah states (Shemos 12:17), "And you shall guard the matzos." Rashi quotes the Mechilta who explains, "Guard the mitzvos -- if a mitzvah comes to you, do it immediately." Do not let it become chometz.

Kinderlach . . .

Do we do our mitzvos immediately? When Imma tells us to get up and get ready for school, we must begin right away. "Imma can I have five more minutes of sleep?" That is the yetzer hora talking, trying to get us to be lazy. Do we do our homework as soon as we come home from school? How about our jobs helping in the house? When we see someone who needs help, do we run to help him? Do we make our brochos right away, or do we wait? Are we on time for davening? Are we early for davening? Don't let our prayers become chametzdik. Zerizus (being quick) is so important that the Tur begins his monumental book with a quote from Pirkei Avos (5:23). Yehuda Ben Teima says, "Be strong as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and mighty as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven." The "Mesillas Yesharim" relates that the lazy person does not do evil, but rather evil overtakes him because he does nothing to stop it. Kinderlach, let us all do what we are supposed to do RIGHT AWAY. May our zerizus enable us all to overcome the yetzer hora and accomplish great things in life.

Sweet Treats

What is the Sefer HaChinuch's reason for not allowing honey to be burned as a fire offering? The korbon (sacrifice) cannot have sweet honey in it. Therefore, we should learn from the korbon to limit or eliminate sweets from our foods. The Yetzer Hora constantly wants to trap us and make us run after our tayvas (desires). He would want us to eat sweets all day long. We would never eat any nutritious food that strengthens our bodies and guards our health. Therefore a person should not let his appetite control him. Rather, he should control it, and use it for the good.

Kinderlach . . .

Sweets are delicious. They are a real treat. We receive them as a reward when we do mitzvos, and as a treat on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Eating too many sweets is not good for our bodies or our souls. Control your appetite for sweets. Then they will always be a treat.

Don't Embarrass

"Yaakov, Pesach is coming in a few weeks."

"I know, Rachel. I am preparing the korbon that we are bringing to the Beis HaMikdash."

"Are we bringing a big animal this year?"

Yaakov's eyes fell. He spoke hesitatingly, in a low voice.

"I am afraid that we cannot afford an animal this year. We will bring a mincha (grain offering) instead."

"When a nefesh (person) offers a mincha to Hashem . . . He shall bring it to the sons of Aaron, the Kohanim . . ." (Vayikra 2:1-2). The Baal HaTurim zt"l explains the use of the word nefesh, which also means soul. A poor person, who could not afford to bring an expensive animal, brought a mincha offering. Even so, he put his soul into paying for that mincha. Regular animals were sacrificed in public, where everyone would see. The mincha, however, was brought privately, only to the Kohanim. The public would not see that he was too poor to bring an animal sacrifice. This would save him embarrassment.

Kinderlach . . .

Do you see how the Torah is sensitive to people's feelings? This is a model for our behavior. Did your sister get a good grade on her test? Or was it not so good. Let her tell Imma privately. Don't embarrass her in front of the family. Always knock before you open a closed door. Someone may be doing something private in the room. Don't ever make fun of someone's clothes or haircut. These things can be very embarrassing. Sensitivity to other's feelings is the mark of real derech eretz.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2002 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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